Heath Blackgrove, Elevate Pro Cycling

It’s 10am on Tuesday morning and I’m at Café Medici in Austin, waiting to meet up with the Director of the Bicycle World sponsored Elevate Pro Cycling Team, Heath Blackgrove. I’m nervous. It’s not that Heath is unapproachable, he isn’t, the few times that we’ve talked he’s been congenial and open. He did agree to give up his morning and meet me here, after all.

No, I’m nervous because Heath is the real thing, proven at some of the biggest events in the world. He’s raced in the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships. He’s won so many New Zealand national titles that I won’t even bother to list them all. He’s lived and raced in Belgium. He’s done a lot of things I haven’t.

“Don’t let him be too humble,” Was the advice one of his friends gave me when he found out that we were going to meet.

It’s funny how often it seems that the people who have accomplished the most, are the most reluctant to talk about themselves.

Heath rides up on his Giant TCR and we shake hands. He goes inside to grab a coffee and I snap a couple of quick images of his bike before I ask him about his new job as Team Director. We chat quite a bit about the van that pulled out in front of the team at training camp a few months ago, two days before the team's debut at the Pace Bend Road Race. You see, this was supposed to be a banner year for Heath. He won an astonishing twenty-two races in 2015, including the Texas State Road Race Championship. He was feeling the “sensations”, as they say.

“My numbers were as good as I’d seen since I started using a power meter,” Heath tells me. He stares off for a second and then continues on “My goal was to go to the Redlands Classic and podium. I was looking at going into the role I’m in now, but I was looking to go out on my time frame, and I know that I still had a lot to give. A strong start to the 2016 season was in the cards. That was probably the hardest thing. Having that taken away from me.”


We talk about the many injuries caused by the accident. Heath broke two ribs, separated his shoulder and suffered a concussion, among other things. When that van pulled out, all of his best laid plans, the months of training, the intervals and diet, they were all rendered pointless in the blink of an eye. It was a bitter pill to swallow.

But then we start to chat about his new full time role as Team Director and Heath comes back to life. He smiles and laughs at me when I ask him if he screams at the members of the team, like I imagine most Team Directors do. “Only if they’re doing something wrong,” he jokes.

It’s obvious that this is a man who loves cycling. Heath loves to share his knowledge and relishes his new role. He talks about the “buzz” he gets from watching the team perform well, and I get wrapped up in his passion for the sport. He realizes that he has the opportunity to help the young riders of Elevate, and I can’t help but think he’s going to be an invaluable asset to the team.

“With my experience, it’s logical that I go into this,” Heath says. “I’ve been there and done that. I want to help these guys.”

We start talking about criterium racing and Heath tells me some of the advice that he’s giving his young riders. He breaks the race down in a way that I’m sure seems natural to him, but speaks to his years of experience. Everyone who races at the professional level has trained. Everyone is fit, and fast, and practically identical. The extra 1% is a Team Director like Blackgrove, telling his riders that taking the corners wide and keeping their speed will pay off in the end.

“You don’t have to sprint out of the corners and waste energy,” He says. “It adds up. There are eight corners a lap and they’re doing something like forty laps.”


Heath is the guy in the team car. He’s the guy who’s finding home stays for the riders so that they don’t spend their entire budget on hotels. He’s the impromptu mechanic, life coach, motivator and confidant. It’s a heavy burden, and there are probably only a handful of people in the nation truly qualified for a job like this.

We end our talk by riding around in the neighborhoods of South Austin while I snap a few photos of the man. I like Heath. He’s that rare combination of natural talent and hard work. He says what he means, and I have no doubt that he expects a lot from his rider’s, just as he expects a lot from himself. This Team Director gig suits him.

We’re proud to sponsor the Elevate Pro Cycling Team, and proud to know Heath. This is the only pro cycling team based in Texas and we’re happy to play a part (No matter how small) in their success. If you haven’t already, follow the team and keep up with their exploits as the continue their season. Elevate Pro Cycling is helping to grow the sport we all love, and Heath Blackgrove is an integral part of that.


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